1
Discover your Future by “Discovering
Common Ground”

FUTURE SEARCH:
A STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

A proven method of real ...
Why are you here?
 What attracted you to this
session?
 What questions do you want
answered by attending this
session?
Objectives
•
•
•
•
•

GET THE WHOLE SYSTEM IN THE ROOM
SEE GLOBAL CONTEXT FOR LOCAL ACTION
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE AND COMMON ...
Outline of the Session
Introduction and Objectives
Future Search Principles
Case: Fire Prevention Future Search
Reflec...
An Alternative to “Doing the Same Old
Things” and “Getting the Same Old
Results”
.

 Strategic planning, in real time, wi...
Common Ground: An Alternative

7
A Simple Comparison
TRADITIONAL
STRATEGIC PLANNING
Exclusive, proprietary

ELEMENT
Mindset

FUTURE SEARCH
CONFERENCE
Inclu...
What is Future Search?
• A model designed by Marvin Weisbord &
Sandra Janoff based on the work of
Emery & Trist
• Aimed at...
Framework
“How this approach differs from typical participative meetings”
 The WHOLE SYSTEM participates. A cross-section...
Three Generic Uses of Future Search
To create a shared vision for an
organization or community
To enable stakeholders to...
WHEN To Do It
 Need to infuse energy and motivation to renew and revitalize organizations
 Shift organizations in transi...
Principles
 Open systems exploration
 Equal participation regardless of hierarchy
 Participants are chosen as stakehold...
Core Values
 People:

 are a source of information
 can be creative





Focus on the future
Everyone is an equal
D...
Conditions For Success
“Whole” system in the room
Global context, local action
Common ground and future focus
Full att...
Typical Structure
• Involves 30-70 people
• Has a defined purpose
• Five tasks

• No formal input
16
AGENDA
Day 2
Session 4 Full Group
•Present trends, cont’d.

AM

Day 1
Lunch
Session 1 Mixed Groups
•Welcome & Opening Rema...
Future Search Conferences
The Five Tasks
• Task 1: Focus on the Past
• Task 2: Focus on the Present
• Task 3: Ideal Future...
Reflection and Discussion
A Brief Future Search Case Review
Poudre Fire Authority

20
Mini-Future Search Exercise
ISPI A LEADER IN GLOBAL
PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT:
ISPI IN 2023
THE NEXT 10 YEARS
Summary and Reflection
BENEFITS
 Influences and establish a common purpose and direction of the whole organizational system
 Identifies commona...
Elephant and the Blind Men

25
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Future Search: A Strategic Planning Process - Presented at the 2013 ISPI Conference in Reno, NV

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A proven method of real time strategic planning, for moving “To The Future & Beyond” by focusing on the future, not solving current problems.
OBJECTIVES:
* Get the Whole System in the room
* See Global Context for Local Action
* Focus on the Future and Common Ground
* Self-Manage and take responsibility for action
* Ignite passions for improvement
* Create Strategic Thinkers at all levels in Organizations

“FUTURE SEARCH” and “The Search Conference” is based on methods and principles developed and set forth by Merrelyn and Fred Emery, Ronald E. Purser, Marvin Weisbord, Sandra Janoff, Ronald Lippitt, Eva Schindler-Rainman, Eric Trist, Wilfred Bion, Tonnie van der Zouwell, Solomon Asch and many others who have contributed to a better understanding and application of small and large group dynamics and systems theory.

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Future Search: A Strategic Planning Process - Presented at the 2013 ISPI Conference in Reno, NV

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. Discover your Future by “Discovering Common Ground” FUTURE SEARCH: A STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS A proven method of real time strategic planning, for moving “To The Future & Beyond” by focusing on the future , not solving current problems. To the Future and Beyond “FUTURE SEARCH” and “THE SEARCH CONFERENCE” is based on methods and principles developed and set forth by Merrelyn and Fred Emery, Ronald E. Purser, Marvin Weisbord, Sandra Janoff, Ronald Lippitt, Eva Schindler-Rainman, Eric Trist, Wilfred Bion, Tonnie van der Zouwell, Solomon Asch and many others who have contributed to a better understanding and application of small and large group dynamics and systems theory. 2
  3. 3. Why are you here?  What attracted you to this session?  What questions do you want answered by attending this session?
  4. 4. Objectives • • • • • GET THE WHOLE SYSTEM IN THE ROOM SEE GLOBAL CONTEXT FOR LOCAL ACTION FOCUS ON THE FUTURE AND COMMON GROUND SELF-MANAGE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTION IGNITE PASSIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT AND BEING STRATEGIC THINKERS AT ALL LEVELS IN ORGANIZATIONS 4
  5. 5. Outline of the Session Introduction and Objectives Future Search Principles Case: Fire Prevention Future Search Reflection and Discussion Mini-Future Search Exercise Summary and Reflection 5
  6. 6. An Alternative to “Doing the Same Old Things” and “Getting the Same Old Results” .  Strategic planning, in real time, with both external and internal stakeholders present.  A unique, highly effective approach.  Involves the entire “community” surrounding the organizational entity searching for its desirable future.  Common Ground as a frame of reference.
  7. 7. Common Ground: An Alternative 7
  8. 8. A Simple Comparison TRADITIONAL STRATEGIC PLANNING Exclusive, proprietary ELEMENT Mindset FUTURE SEARCH CONFERENCE Inclusive, open Internal Leadership with Staff support Participation Stakeholders from all segments 1-5 years Time Frame 5-10+ years Structure Flat, circular Hierarchical, pyramidal Top down Projection, trend extrapolation Economic growth Reduction of anxiety Document, ??? energy / commitment Control Planning Method Shared Acting “as if” based on desired future Values Orientation Economic growth, common purpose, contribution Psychological Resonance Commitment to community Output On-going task forces 8
  9. 9. What is Future Search? • A model designed by Marvin Weisbord & Sandra Janoff based on the work of Emery & Trist • Aimed at getting everybody improving whole systems • A large conference involving a broad variety of stakeholders • Creating a shared encounter 9
  10. 10. Framework “How this approach differs from typical participative meetings”  The WHOLE SYSTEM participates. A cross-section of as many interested parties as practical. That means more diversity and less hierarchy than usual in a working meeting, and a chance for each person to be heard and learn other ways of looking at the task at hand.  Future scenarios for an organization, community or issue are put into HISTORICAL and GLOBAL perspectives. That means thinking globally together before acting locally. This feature enhances shared understanding and greater commitment to act. It also increases the range of potential actions.  People SELF-MANAGE their work, and use DIALOGUE not “problem solving” as the main tool. That means helping each other do the tasks and taking responsibility for our perceptions and actions.  COMMON GROUND rather than “conflict management”, is the frame of reference. That means honoring our differences rather than having to reconcile them. 10
  11. 11. Three Generic Uses of Future Search To create a shared vision for an organization or community To enable stakeholders to discover shared intentions and take responsibility for their own plans To help people implement a shared vision that already exists 11
  12. 12. WHEN To Do It  Need to infuse energy and motivation to renew and revitalize organizations  Shift organizations in transition from the past to the future  Identify and confront new or changed external conditions affecting the organization  Generate support, congruence and commitment from all segments of the system  Clarify the future purpose, roles and boundaries of the organization and its interfaces  New leadership is taking over  Opposing parties need to meet in a productive environment with an apolitical forum  Other efforts to unify and create a shared vision of the future have stalled  A key transition is eminent stemming from strong influences 12
  13. 13. Principles  Open systems exploration  Equal participation regardless of hierarchy  Participants are chosen as stakeholders  Future Focus  Include a broad spectrum of viewpoints  Everyone shares information, interprets it and decides on action steps 13
  14. 14. Core Values  People:  are a source of information  can be creative     Focus on the future Everyone is an equal Diversity should be appreciated and valued Differences are explored but the task is to agree common ground 14
  15. 15. Conditions For Success “Whole” system in the room Global context, local action Common ground and future focus Full attendance Healthy meeting conditions 48 hour event spread over 3 days Public responsibility for follow-up 15
  16. 16. Typical Structure • Involves 30-70 people • Has a defined purpose • Five tasks • No formal input 16
  17. 17. AGENDA Day 2 Session 4 Full Group •Present trends, cont’d. AM Day 1 Lunch Session 1 Mixed Groups •Welcome & Opening Remarks •Overview, agenda, ground rules •Introductions - Artifacts Session 2 •Review of the Past on personal, organizational and “world” level PM Day 3 Session 3 Stakeholder/Large group(s) •Review of Present Trends (Mind Map) •Identify common, external influences Session 10 Full Group •Reality Dialogue Session 5 Mixed Groups •Present trends implications Session 11 Stakeholder &/or Theme Groups •Action Planning •Report out Session 6 •Owning the present •“Prouds & Sorries” Session 7 Mixed Groups •Create Ideal Futures Session 12 •Final Summaries and next steps •Closing Session 8 Mixed Groups •Present future scenarios “acting as if” Session 9 Full Group •Identify common ground of the future 17
  18. 18. Future Search Conferences The Five Tasks • Task 1: Focus on the Past • Task 2: Focus on the Present • Task 3: Ideal Future Scenarios • Task 4: Identify Common Ground • Task 5: Action Planning 18
  19. 19. Reflection and Discussion
  20. 20. A Brief Future Search Case Review Poudre Fire Authority 20
  21. 21. Mini-Future Search Exercise
  22. 22. ISPI A LEADER IN GLOBAL PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT: ISPI IN 2023 THE NEXT 10 YEARS
  23. 23. Summary and Reflection
  24. 24. BENEFITS  Influences and establish a common purpose and direction of the whole organizational system  Identifies commonality and diversity  Shares responsibility and control by all constituents instead of mandates from the “top”  Fosters commitment to the organizational mission from all influences  Broadens horizons and perspectives that guide short-term priorities  Involves representation from internal and external influences at levels beyond leaders and experts  Opens opportunities to meet a variety of different people with diverse points of view  Creates ways to leverage information use and delivery as a competitive advantage  Learn more about the challenges and help define ways to meet them 24
  25. 25. Elephant and the Blind Men 25

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